Ballito residents answer call to pray for peace in Senekal

In the wake of the brutal murder of a Free State farm manager close to 200 North Coast residents converged at Townsend Park last Friday to pray against rural violence and mounting racial tension.

21-year-old Brendin Horner was murdered on October 1, discovered tied to a pole with a rope around his neck by his father Robbie, as well as work colleague Jaco Kleingeld.

Police arrested two suspects.

Both Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba (32) and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa (44) have appeared in court at Senekal and are due back this week on murder charges.

It is understood that judgment will be handed down on whether bail is to be granted.

The murder has drawn international headlines with the subsequent protests in Senekal turning violent and Senekal resident Andre Pienaar being arrested on charges of inciting violence.

People across the country have since come together to pray for Senekal as representatives of farmers throughout the nation.

In Ballito, what began as a message from God, according to prayer meeting organiser Leunis van Rooyen’s wife, Johané ended in an ‘army’ of Christians praying for nationwide peace and safety.

Scores of people gathered at Townsend Park on Friday last week, praying for peace. Photo: Juan Venter / The North Coast Courier

The group, led by pastors from numerous local churches prayed fervently for farmers’ safety.

Hailing from farming communities themselves, the Van Rooyens have both lost loved ones in farm attacks, and with the matter close at heart Leunis had originally wanted to go to Senekal but instead decided to pray.

On his knees, a man bows his head as pastor Mark Slevin of LINC Church leads the group at Townsend Park in prayer last week Friday. Photo: Juan Venter / The North Coast Courier

“On Tuesday morning he woke up, and said: ‘God has put it on my heart to have a prayer meeting in Townsend Park’. He made a video in the morning which he sent to his friends, and we thought if anything between 3 and 30 people arrived he would be happy,” said Johané.

The community’s response was astounding, the call to pray resonating with so many.

“This was really not only about Senekal. Yes, peace in Senekal on the day but also the general situation of our country – peace, break-ins, the larger Ballito community and people turning to God.”

Many took to their knees in prayer at Townsend Park in Ballito on Friday last week. Photo: Juan Venter / The North Coast Courier

The Van Rooyens, Ballito locals, hope the prayer meeting at Townsend Park will become a regular occurrence.